A bill that would kick Missourians off a welfare program if they test positive for drugs has advanced in the House.
Do drugs; lose Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) money under HCS HB 1377 that advances in the House on a 113-to-40 vote. The bill would strip TANF money from anyone who tests positive for drug use.
Rep. Jeff Roorda (D-Barnhart) suggests to Rep. Scott Dieckhaus (R-Washington) that his amendment to the bill could inadvertently hurt poor children.
“You’re meddling with this bill and you don’t know how hungry kids who are getting a few cents a day to eat are going to get a third party intervention so that they still get those few cents a day,” Roorda asks Dieckhaus during House floor debate.
“My concern, my amendment does not deal with a third party whatsoever,” Dieckhaus responds. Dieckhaus succeeds in pushing through his amendment that strips a provision from the bill that would have referred those testing positive for drug use to a drug treatment program. He attempts to assure Roorda that the Department of Social Services would intervene and make sure that the children of TANF recipients who lose benefits would still receive assistance.
Roorda insists during his House floor debate with Dieckhaus that the action would end up hurting the children of TANF recipients the most.
“Do you want to incentivize drug use? I certainly don’t,” Dieckhaus replies to Roorda. “I pay taxes. I don’t want to incentivize drug use.”
“You work off the assumption, gentleman, that this money is going for drugs,” Roorda counters. “I work off the assumption that it’s going for the bologna sandwiches that keep these kids fed.”
A provision added to the bill during House floor debate would subject state lawmakers to drug tests.
One more positive vote sends the bill to the Senate.